There will be free parking at the match, including tailgating, NO CASH concessions, merchandise purchases … Click here for game day information. For those who can’t attend, the match is being broadcast on Cox Sports TV locally, the MSG Network+ in New York, and streamed worldwide on the Rugby Network, which did a fantastic job steaming four matches live last weekend, with the two national broadcasts on a 24-hour delay replay.
NOLA Gold came back last week to gain a bonus point 26 all draw against Old Glory DC in their home opener. Rugby United New York braved gale force winds in Las Vegas in their 36-29 win over San Diego Legion. This gained the RUNY the OFX Team of the Week honors. Mark Harmon earned Geico 1st team honors at loosehead prop for NOLA Gold and Dylan Fawsitt and Will Leonard earned honors at hooker and at inside center, respectively, for Rugby United New York.
Last week’s match team statistics below were on the MLR App. Download the MLR app for the team, player information, results, and standings.
NOLA Gold and Rugby United New York have strong set-pieces in both the scrums and lineouts with an edge to NY in the scrums. Both teams look to score tries first with attacks from lineouts in close, instead of kicking penalty goals. Last week NOLA Gold did this on three occasions and came out empty. That is not usually the case, but with the history of the teams having close matches, tactics may dictate a change as the match evolves. Both teams will look for a win first but will want to score 4 tries to gain a bonus point.
NOLA Gold is building a team with the consistency of player retention through multi-year contracts while adding both young U.S. talent, as well as some international talent based on team needs. Rugby United New York’s community differs, and winning now is the philosophy. The team has a core of veteran talent, along with some younger players that can contribute when needed.
NOLA Gold Head Coach Nate Osborne has made 3 changes in the starts, as well as two additions in the replacements. Pat O’Toole, Ignacio Dotti, and Tesimoni Tongauiha rotated from last week’s reserves to starting a hooker, lock, and blindside flanker, respectively. When Brian Nault enters the match, he will gain his first MLR cap, and Nikola Bursic is on the roster for the first time in 2021.
with Namibian international Damien Stevens replacing Holden Yungert at scrumhalf. Stevens provided the quick ball to the backs during the second-half attacks.
The front row includes former Life University Collegiate All-American Matt Harmon, Irish hooker Pat O’Toole, and US international Dino Waldren. In the engine room at lock is Canadian international and team captain, Kyle Baillie, who is paired with Uruguay international Ignacio Dotti. Rounding out the forwards are Tesimoni Tongauiha and Collegiate draft selection, Andrew Guerra. US international Cam Dolan is at No.8 and is a force in the lineouts, as well as a try scorer.
The backs remain unchanged with USA Select Holden Yungert and Australian Robbie Coleman the halfback, Argentina XVs, and 7s international Juan Cappiello pairing with South African JP Du Plessis. In the back-three are South African Carl Meyer at fullback, who can kick from long-range, former Argentina 7s international Julian Dominguez, and Joeli Tikoisuva, who has played with the team since its inaugural season in 2018.
The reserves are experienced with only Brian Nault, a Collegiate All-American from Central Washington University will likely make his MLR debut. Canadian international Eric Howard is at hooker, Kevin Sullivan is a loosehead prop, Nikola Bursic is a Chilean international back-row, Billy Stewart is a talented lock, Devon Short is also a back-row, who previously played with San Diego Legion. The two back reserves include Namian scrumhalf Damien Stevens, who places teams under pressure with his quick ball release, and French flyhalf/inside center, Timothee Guillimin.
Rugby United New York coach Marty Veale has made one change in the squad since last week’s win over San Diego Legion with Samu Tawake replacing Zak Taulafo at tighthead prop. Tawake played for the Manawatu Turbos in the Mitre 10 Cup, as well as for the Fiji Warriors, and played age-grade rugby for Fiji.
Rugby United New York has a formidable pack with Irish prop James Rochford, USA hooker Dylan Fawsitt, the team’s captain, and the young Fijian international Samu Tawake. USA international Nate Brakeley pairs with Charlie Hewitt, who is part of the USA extended National team squad at lock, In the back-row, is USA international Hanco Germishuys, Super Rugby flanker Kara Pryor, and Irish No. 8 Evan Mintern.
RUNY added a key international in the backs in former New Zealand All Blacks scrumhalf Andy Ellis, whose leadership on and off the field has already paid dividends. Ellis teams with a young experienced Kiwi in Dan Hollinshead, whose boot will be relied on during the match. The centers include Will Leonard from Ireland, who was an offensive threat, as well as a key defender, and is paired with former All Black Sevens player Fasi Fuatai. In the back three are former England captain Ben Foden at fullback, along with former Fijian Sevens star, Apensia Cakabulalavu, who is a powerful runner and devastating tackler, and Canadian Quinn Ngwati, a former rugby league player, who is on Rugby Canada’s radar for the National Team.
Waiting to be called on as reserves are front-row replacements are veterans Anthony Parry at loosehead prop, Rob Irimescu at hooker, who is a former Collegiate All-American, and Brazil international, Wilton Rebolo, who can play anywhere in the front row. Ben Bonasso, a dual US/Argentina national, is the other forward at the back-row. RUNY has opted for 4 back replacements again for the match, with an experienced professional Harry Bennett able to enter at flyhalf or at fullback. Chris Mattina, who played for the Eagles Sevens, likely will enter as a center, but has played everywhere in the backs except for scrumhalf. That will not be needed with both young scrum-halves waiting to make their MLR debut in Connor Buckley and Conor McManus.
The Eastern Conference Standing after Week One has Rugby United New York in first place with 5 points, while NOLA Gold is in third place with 3 points. The MLR has an 18 match regular season with each team playing teams in the conference twice, home and away, and each of the Western Conference teams once, for a 16 match season. The top two teams in each Conference will then meet in the playoffs for the right as Conference Champions to meet on August 1 in the MLR Shield Final.
Squads with Player Article Links
NOLA Gold: 1 Matt Harmon 2 Pat O’Toole 3 Dino Waldren 4 Kyle Baillie (c) 5 Ignacio Dotti 6 Tesimoni Tongauiha 7 Andrew Guerra 8 Cam Dolan 9 Holden Yungert 10 Robbie Coleman 11 Julian Dominguez 12 Juan Cappiello 13 JP Du Plessis (VC) 14 Joeli Tikoisuva 15 Carl Meyer 16 Eric Howard 17 Kevin Sullivan 18 Brian Nault 19 Billy Stewart 20 Nikola Bursic 21 Devon Short 22 Damian Stevens 23 Timothee Guillimin
Rugby United New York: 1 James Rochford 2 Dylan Fawsitt (c) 3 Samu Tawake 4 Nate Brakeley 5 Charlie Hewitt 6 Hanco Germishuys 7 Kyra Pryor 8 Evan Mintern 9 Andy Ellis 10 Dan Hollinshead 11 Apensia Cakaubalavu 12 Will Leonard 13 Fa’asiu Fuatai 14 Quinn Ngawati 15 Ben Foden 16 Rob Iramescu 17 Anthony Parry 18 Wilton Rebolo 19 Ben Bonasso 20 Connor Buckley 21 Harry Bennett 22 Chris Mattina 23 Conor McManus
Matches between NOLA Gold Rugby and Rugby United New York always are exciting and this match should be a fast-paced high scoring match that fans will enjoy. View the match locally on Cox Sports TV, MSG Network+ (NY), and the stream worldwide on the Rugby Network. The tweet below will help views globally to know when the match is being streamed live.
Catch RUNY vs @nolagoldrugby this Saturday, 4pm ET
— Rugby United New York (@rugbyunitedny) March 26, 2021
Following this week’s match, both teams will have a bye week. NOLA Gold will return on Saturday, April 10 at home against Austin Gilgronis. Rugby United New York will travel to Marieta, Georgia for a Sunday, April 11 encounter with Rugby ATL in the CBSSN Game of the Week.